cover image A Maiden Weeping: A Crispin Guest Medieval Mystery Noir

A Maiden Weeping: A Crispin Guest Medieval Mystery Noir

Jeri Westerson. Severn, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8621-7

Westerson’s lackluster ninth medieval noir (after 2015’s The Silence of Stones) finds investigator Crispin Guest in his favorite London tavern, the Boar’s Tusk, feeling the effects of drinking too much wine. When a stranger shoves a bulging money pouch at Crispin, telling him that a woman must be dead that very night, he realizes that he’s been mistaken for a hired killer. Crispin uses the instructions on the parchment inside the pouch to locate the target, Elizabeth le Porter, who recognizes him as a heroic former knight. Ignoring his warnings, she plies him with more drink, and the two fall into bed together. The next morning, Crispin discovers Elizabeth has been strangled. Afraid that he will be charged with her murder, Crispin flees so that he might catch the culprit, but he’s soon in custody, leaving his teenage apprentice, Jack Tucker, to work the case. Several unlikely plot developments and superficial characterizations make this one of the weaker entries in the series. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, Jabberwocky Literary. (Aug.)